I've been asked to share some time management tips, and am thinking maybe it might be helpful for me to jot them down to share... as I might benefit from reading them as well. I've been off track.
Kristin from PA, Darcy from NY and I'm thinking Sherri from PA have asked about time management, or a day in the life of ME....
Here are some things that make my life easier, and help me stay on the path that I need to be. Now, as of late, I have not been true to my time management tips and some of them have gone by the wayside- TEMPORARILY. This is in part to my double business ventures- duct tape and photography. Both are ALL me, and both are time consuming. I'm so thankful for the abundance that has come my way in both areas, and right now I'm just holding on until I figure out how to juggle it all. That being said- here are the tips:
1. Make a list.. I don't care if you have to write "make a list" on your list and check it off. Seeing what you have to do, and checking it off feels SOOOOOOO good. I'll make a list and actually add things that I've already done just so I get that "freshly checked" feeling. How do you know what you have to do if you don't have it in front of you? Not everyone is visual, but I do believe that everyone can benefit from list making. And put little boxes next to each thing so you can put a check or an X. Ahhhhh.
2. Make a schedule.. I love scheduling. Maybe it is from my days as a manager, but it makes life easier to have assigned tasks for certain times. One example is a cleaning schedule (I say this, and can still smell the cleanliness from the HIRED help that was here yesterday.. I'm such a (temporary) hypocrite). My cleaning schedule helps keep my house in order- because I never feel overwhelmed. Each day is a certain task- or two and easily done in a short period of time. Consider it a rotation. It's not great for people who like to have their house clean at one time- but great for people who like to keep it clean everyday.
Monday- dust/vac bedrooms (excluding master)
Tuesday- upstairs bathrooms (again- excluding master)
Thursday- dust/vac master & master bath
Friday- downstairs baths / kitchen counters
That's just an example. Weekends are for stripping beds, mopping floors, changing towels- things that need to get done that should go on the "to do" list, not necessarily the schedule. It's a good guideline- and if you miss one day, the tasks are still manageable for rolling over to the next day.
3. Make a meal plan.. I have talked about my pantry before and shopping and feeding my family. The best thing I do is make a menu. Have a theme set aside for each day of the week and plan accordingly. Make a menu a month in advance.. or rotate the same one. You won't feel like you're eating the same things, even though you're eating the same type of food on the same day each week..
Thursday- kids choice
Weekends are usually thrown to chance- we eat out, we cook out- etc... But if you set up a month at a time- you aren't eating just spaghetti every Monday, you can plan to have lasagna, stuffed shells, whatever you want, and you can plan around it. Salad, bread, whatever. Mexican can be tacos, burritos, enchiladas.. you get the idea. Wednesday can be quiches, chili, anything that is a "one dish" dinner. Should be easy. Thursday- let the kids pick. This is usually breakfast for supper (YUM!) or "string noodles" (ramen). But I like giving them the power to choose what our family will eat. They like it too.
Friday, we alternate ordering in, eating out or making pizza. It's a fun family meal...and who doesn't like pizza?
4. Make supper a priority. We eat together every night. We set the table with place mats, and sit together. We don't get up until we've all been thankful for something. Even the little ones are "thankful". I think it brings everyone to center- it's important to sit and have that time. It also teaches the kids that dinner is for eating and sitting still. It is helpful when we eat at a restaurant and the kids sit the whole time. People see us coming in to a restaurant and you can't believe the looks we get- especially from the senior crowd. It's inevitable by the end of our meal we usually have at least one old couple tell us how surprised they are at the kids good behavior. I think its great, but at the same time sad that the expectation has gotten so low that people think that kids will run amok during supper. Our kids still get antsy- they are kids, and there are times when we have to talk to them about "indoor voices" but for the most part, it's not a terrible experience to eat out with 5 kids. And we do it pretty often too..
5. Make a bedtime.. My kids go to bed early. Earlier than most. Tonight they were in bed (all 5) by 7:30. It just makes sense for us. Night time is MY time and Mike's time and getting them to bed early gives us more time to blog, tape or edit. Or in Mike's case- bike ride, bill pay, watch grown up shows... you get the picture.
6. Make a calendar... back to scheduling- my calendar area in the hall - inspired by Real Simple and it is a lifesaver. If it's not on the calendar, it doesn't get done. I put everything on there from what specials the kids have to birthdays to holidays. It was a fun project- it's big enough for everyone to see and it helps up see the month at a glance..
7. Make a space for your kids.. Kids need an area that is theirs.. A room, a corner, a chair. Something. We have a playroom- and when we were looking to build this house, we were adamant about having a play space for the kids. It keeps my life somewhat sane. It doesn't mean that my kids still don't drag toys from here to the next county, but at the end of the day, they do a little parade walk around the house- picking up and putting everything back in the playroom. I also try to make it very easy for the kids to stay organized. I have hooks up for their backpacks, hooks for their PJ's, bins for homework/school papers, etc.. Now this doesn't mean that they always put things where they belong... but at least there is a landing spot. If I had a nickel for every time I said "I work very hard to make sure we have places to keep things organized, now if you can just PUT IT AWAY..." Someday they will get it. Probably when they do, they won't live here with me anymore... but at least I will know that I did my job.
8. Make time to do the things you like to do... I think the most ineffective thing you can do as a parent is not do things that make you whole. You can't completely wrap yourself up in other people so much that you forget to take care of yourself. Even if it's just a few minutes in the closet to gather your thoughts- do it, it will help you in the long run.
Excuse me, I'm going now. If you need me, I'll be in the closet.